The undeniable truth for so many people is it's much easier to see what is wrong with our lives and in our world than it is to consciously notice the good things. This of course does not mean that those who experience hard times are in a constant state of unhappiness, but it does come in waves. For some the waves can be HUGE and the repeated waves of anxiety can have devastating long-term effects which in turn have a direct impact on those around us. Especially our children!
Our children's happiness is directly related to our happiness, and this was recently confirmed to me yet again after reading the comments on a YouTube video about happiness that was directed toward an adult audience.
The comment read "I CANNOT be happy because my parents keep fighting."
First, it's clear this was a young person leaving this comment. Second, this kid was clearly searching YouTube to discover ways on his own to become happier. And thirdly, through his comment he was reaching out to let the world know he cannot be happy if his parents are unhappy. He is not the only one and by no means the first!
Millions of us older folks grew up in extremely unhappy homes, and if you did you can identify with the kid who wrote the comment I mentioned above. Although we did not have YouTube or social media to put our thoughts out there, we all know how unhappy we were when our own parents would fight and be unhappy, especially when their unhappiness was directed at us. A direct result of chronic unhappiness at home was that some of us had a very tough time in school, got in with the "wrong crowd" because our friends meant everything, or we ran away or turned to drugs and alcohol at a young age to numb the pain.
Then WHAM-O! We're grown-up and have kids of our own!
Life gets real and we handle it the best we know how but our "know how" may not have come from the most reliable of sources, OUR PARENTS! And in some cases our miserable, mean fighting parents! But wait! Don't think I'm blaming here, because our parents did the best they could with the tools they had! Focusing our thought attention in that way makes us victims and change is not possible in victim mode!
Myself, and so many parents I work with begin to identify a subconscious pattern. We begin to see how our definition of a mom or dad is based highly on the subconscious beliefs we created as children by placing meanings on the things our parents did or the words they said. As kids we ultimately believe that even though it hurts on so many levels, these people I call mommy and daddy are just doing what parents do, so it must be the right way. And though many of us consciously declare this is NOT how I would choose to parent my own children, in the heat and pressures of parenting we find our subconscious definition of "parenting" takes over and we see our parents in ourselves.
Try this if you are curious if you are subconscious parenting...
How You Define Your Mom/Dad?
(Note: If you are a father focus on your father, if you are a mother focus on your mother. If you can, answer the 2nd question below from your memory as a child of the same age as your child is now)
1. What are the words you would use to describe your mother or father?
2. What are the words you would use to describe your feelings as a child about your mother or father?
3. In terms of being a parent how do you describe your mother or father?
4. Do you use the word dad or father or mom or mother when speaking about yours?
Now, ask yourself how your child might answer the same questions about you?
If you feel your child's answers would be in any way similar to your answers about your parents, you may now see how your subconscious beliefs about how to be a mom or dad are playing out in the parent you have become. Whether or not this is the parent you consciously want to be there may be a pattern to observe that is keeping you back from living into your true desire.
Do your subconscious beliefs agree with who you consciously want to be as a parent?
If so, wonderful! Keep on keeping on!!
But if your answer is no! Fear not, I have good news!
Not only can you choose to reprogram and replace subconscious beliefs that do not match your conscious desires, but the benefits of doing so lead to a happier and more satisfying life for you and your children, and their children one day!
The first step is noticing there is a pattern, because a pattern cannot be stopped unless we know it exists and if you see it you can change it!
See and Feel a Change Right Away!
One of the many wonderful benefits from our efforts in being happier parents becomes quickly apparent and is seen almost instantly in our children!
When I began to consciously put into practice various powerful strategies to become happier one of the most pleasant and instantly beneficial was starting my day in a very particular and intentional way, and I quickly noticed a change not just in myself but in my kids too! If we allow, the stress of getting two young teenage boys up for school each morning, especially as a single parent, can be overwhelming, however when we do not allow the stress to take hold in the first place, everything changes!
Important to understand is that stressful mornings before school have a disastrous effect on our kids in that emotional stress restricts their ability to learn. Under emotional stress, cortisol (the stress hormone) is released into the bloodstream which shuts off blood flow to the area of the brain responsible for memory and retention. In addition the immune system becomes dysfunctional under stress which lowers their ability to stay healthy.
And inversely, emotional well-being and simply feeling good has the complete opposite effect!
When our children head off to school feeling happy, loved and optimistic about their day they are ready to learn! They in turn become proud of their accomplishments, their self-esteem rises and the happiness continues to become ingrained and habitual.
This of course does not mean unhappy events and circumstances will cease to happen, however we learn to react to those event and circumstances from a new and different optimistic perspective helping to lower stress and increasing our ability to learn, grow and move on.
Discovering your path to true lasting happiness is a gift you will give to yourself and your children that will last a lifetime, and for generations to come!